Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gotcha Day!

I am sorry for anyone who may have actually been awaiting our next post!  It's been a little crazy around this house to say the least! 

Our agency rep (D) told us he would call us sometime before noon when he arrived at the hotel.   We have heard that never expect anyone to be on time, we are now on AFRICA time.  So Jeff and I tried to sleep in (it was 9 hours time difference).  We missed our only free meal that morning too but I was not really in the mood for eating.  We spent some time watching the people go about their day, some time reading the book "1000 sisters" and also racking up our phone bill unintentionally.  Note:  Turn your phone OFF!  By the time we got home I had managed to rack up an extra $700 phone bill.  This happened mostly because we used face time on our phone and the hotel Internet connection kept going out on us.  Therefore, the hotels "free wi-fi" did us NO GOOD!
Anyways, the view from our hotel was one I will NEVER forget.  Here we are in this very nice and comfortable hotel, and then you take a look out the window.  I felt guilty just looking.  My first thought was they must be redoing the streets because there was torn up cement everywhere.  Almost looked as if a bomb went off.  Yet there were hundreds of people just going about their day.  Some just sitting there on the streets, doing nothing.  The poverty was overwhelming.   I was not expecting to see this right outside of our window, and the sad part is is that what we were looking at didn't even compare to what other areas were like. 
It was nearing noon and we were anxiously awaiting D's phone call.   Waiting seemed like it was all we have been doing the past year....And I had enough of it!  Noon turned to one, then two, then the phone finally rang!  My heart was racing, and I think I walked in three circles before we gathered our donation bags, and headed down to the lobby.  There we saw D and I could tell by the look on his face he was going to tell us we had more waiting to do.  He said he had more appointments and running around to do (this man works hard and our agency needs to hire about 3 more of him) and that his wife (J) would come and pick us up when she gets off work around 5.  My heart sank, but I tried to remain in good spirits as today was going to be the day, no matter what, and nothing was going to ruin that!  So back to reading, people watching, and running up our phone bill. 

4:45 we head down to the lobby.  We do not know what his wife looks like so every time a lady walked into the hotel I would watch her every move and try and make eye contact with a smile like trying to say "hey, we are  Jenovic's parents," but for 1.5 hours no such lady walked through the doors.  I remember just thinking, no matter what we will get him tonight, its going to happen so keep your spirits up.  Around 6:30 his wife finally walks into the lobby, looks right at us and gives us a not so friendly smile.  She said she was going to call a taxi that she knows to come and pick us up.  SERIOUSLY!  I figured SHE was our ride, but that would have been too easy.  So we WAIT, and WAIT, and her taxi never shows.  I bet an hour went by.  The hotel staff finally takes charge and hooks us up with one and within half an hour our taxi who is going to take us to our son arrives. 

It is now 8pm.   It is dark and our taxi looks like it had been in a handful of wrecks.  I get in and try to buckle up.  My seat belt was broken.  I tell Jeff to switch me spots, but his is completely missing.  I say bonjour to the taxi driver and we are off!  FINALLY!  About a minute into our drive, I realize the gas gage is on Empty.  Not just close to empty, like beyond empty.  I whisper to Jeff and he says, "its probably just broken."
I try and make small talk with J but she didn't care to talk much.  I tried asking her all about our son, as we really never got much information on him as far as his personality goes.   We received info like "good boy" and "runs normal".  So any information she could provide was going to be more than we had heard in the last 9 months.  I asked her what he was like.  Did he talk much?  What language?  Does he sleep well?  Does he nap still?  Who does he play with the most?  Every answer was as short as it could be, except for one and that was when I asked her which kiddo was the most outgoing and talkative of the group, and she said with a smile: "Jenovic, he is always talking but we don't know what he is saying...We just smile and say ok Jenovic:)"  That made my heart leap!  I was shocked as I actually thought by the lack of personality information we received that maybe he was quiet and reserved.  Boy was I wrong on that one! 

The drive to the orphanage was honestly the scariest drive of my life.  I thought flying was scary.  Nope driving at night, in a crowded city, dodging people and ginormous potholes left and right, with two people we don't know, one who doesn't want to talk to us and the other doesn't speak a lick of English, in a taxi that seems to be on its last leg of life, without seat belts, and NO GAS.  If we slow down people start approaching our window, and these people speak LOUD!  I can't tell if they are yelling at each other, or just having a conversation.  I kept thinking, no way God would let us die now, no way!  Soon we come to a gas station and stop.  It wasn't just broke after all.  We really were out of gas!  Of course I'm freaking out because all I have read is how scary it is here, and that nowhere is safe.  A man walks up to my window and motions for me to roll it down.  I smile and look away.  I'm thinking to myself, please don't open the door (which was locked anyway), please don't pull me out of the vehicle.  Hurry up taxi driver!    (Looking back now I realize that all that man wanted to do is sell me a map.  He had no intention of harming me, just wanted to sell me his map.)  We finally get back on the road and drive for what seemed like forever.  About twenty minutes after our gas stop our driver stops again but this time just in the middle of nowhere.  Just hops out of the car, leaving us all in there wondering what is going on.  After a minute I realize he is peeing in a bush.  Of course, why didn't I think of that!  I really should have taken some zanex before this day started!  Once again, we are off dodging tons of people in pitch black, no street lights, no stop signs or signals, just a free for all.
It was around 10pm when we finally arrived at the orphanage.  We pull up and I fumble around trying to get my video camera turned on (later realizing I forgot to turn on the night vision.)  I'm shaking, scared, excited, nervous, and oh so ready to squeeze our son!  While walking up to the house I see a little boy peek his head out of the front door.  A nanny quickly pulls him back in.  It was too dark to make out any faces but I'm positive that was the first time I seen our son:)  We walk in the doors, and there to the right of us were about 13 kids sitting so quietly you could have heard a pin drop.  They were watching a fuzzy tv show like price is right:)  I then looked forward and across the room there stood a little boy.  He waited till our eyes met and I said "hey buddy," then he walked right over to us.

 He knew we were coming for him that night.  How crazy to think that for him in could have walked anyone, I think they may have showed him pictures but I doubt he really understood.  He had watched other Moms and Dads walk thru those doors and leave with his friends, but tonight, it was HIS turn!  His mommy and daddy were coming for him! Even though he had no idea what to expect.  We on the other hand, knew what he looked like as we have been staring at his photo and dreaming and praying for him for 9 months.  It was so sweet as he just walked right up to us, looked up as if to say, ok here I am.  Jeff immediately picked him up, and I cried:)  Im not sure why I didnt snatch him up first.  I think I was frozen:)   I watched him and Jeff look at each other for the first time and I could tell that in my husbands eyes, this last year of putting up with his crazy obsessive wife was all worth it.  He was hooked.  This was his son.  He passed Jenovic over to me and it was one of the best moments of my life.  It felt so amazing to have him in my arms.   Poor Jenovic was scared, as you could tell in his eyes, but he was brave and let his new Mommy and Daddy soak him up in their arms.

Next up:  A week in our son's country.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

We are on our way to baby J!!!!

WOW!!!  Where to begin!    These last 3 weeks have been overwhelming, amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking, scary, just about every emotion you could imagine has happened in the last three weeks!  We are home...finally...with our sweet little boy Jenovic....Thank you Lord for this AMAZING blessing....Thank You....Thank You....We are soooo blessed!

January 15th....Bittersweet goodbyes..

Today is the day!  We are FINALLY moving forward to go get our son. Tonight we drive to Billings, MT spend the night and board a plane first thing in the morning.  I am sooo excited I can hardly contain myself!  However, I have to say goodbye to three kids I love so much.  Three kids who I have never left for as long as what we are planning on leaving them for.  Three kids who I love so much that they will never understand how much I love them until they someday have children of their own. 
Today the kids got to skip school and spend some time with Mommy.  We went to icecream land and then over to get the girls their nails done;)  As much as I tried to focus on spending some quality time with them, I had still a ton of organizing and packing to do.  (I pack best at last minute:) 
Love these kiddos!
So after a fun afternoon with the kiddos we returned home and started to prepare for the trip we have been waiting a year for.  Before we left we got one last family photo....of 5 anyways:) 
Last family photo of 5! 
Shortly after this picture we had to say our goodbyes.  Bayley started to cry and had a hard time letting go:(  I remember having a rotten feeling in my gut.  Knowing we were about to leave these guys, hop on many planes (which every time I do I worried I'm going to die) and enter into one of the most dangerous countries there are.  It was not an easy goodbye....
January 16th...Airborne!!!
We hop on our first plane of 8 total.  This is REALLY HAPPENING!  We are on our way!  In a few days we will be united with our son!  We fly from Billings, MT - Denver, CO - Chicago, IL - to Brussels Belgium.  And that is as far as we make it before we have to spend one more night away from our son:)  Jeff and I have horrible luck with planes.  We always seem to run into delays and miss our connections.  This trip was no exception.  When we boarded our plane in Chicago we sat there for about an hour while they tried to fix a malfunction.  Then they had us de-board and catch a later flight.  Therefore we missed our connection to Kinshasa and had to stay the night in Belgium.  This was actually a blessing in disguise as we met a few wonderful people who were also on their way to Congo.  Jeff and I aren't much of world travelers, and traveling into a war torn country pretty much scared us to death.  Such chickens!!  One of the people we met was a sweet lady named Susan.  She has lived and worked in Congo for 10 years and is from the US.  It was nice to be able to visit with her and hear about her experience and she really put to ease some of our fears.  Plus she spoke French which was definitely a plus as our only french words were Bonjour and um...Bonjour...   Yah, we weren't going to let this woman out of our sight:-)  We were tagging along with her whether she wanted us or not!
January 17th....HELLO CONGO!
Upon arrival into Kinshasa you could literally see the moisture enter into the plane.  We went from snow to HOT and HUMID!  We landed in the evening which was actually really nice as it was not too busy.  Once we landed we had to get thru customs and of course we stuck as close to Susan as possible:)  One of the first things I remember is the man at customs checking my passport, and says "yah Go Obama"!  One of our agencies representatives was there to meet us and was very helpful even though I tried to push him away a few times:)  I was told that many people would try and help us with our luggage and to only let our representative help.  He finally tried again and said "Jeff" and then I realized who he was:) The rest was pretty much a blur as I was just too excited to finally be in the same city as our son!  We knew we were not able to meet our little man till the following day so we got settled into our hotel room and rested up for the big day! 
January 18th.....GOTCHA DAY!!!
(post coming soon:)-




Sunday, January 6, 2013

Should I be packing?!

Ok so I just wrote an entire blog post, went to spell check and somehow deleted the whole thing!!!  GRRR!  This may be shorter than I had planned!
We are ONE PIECE OF PAPER away from hopping on the plane!  We are so close!  If you could say a prayer for our son to get his visa in the next week, preferably the next day or two we would appreciate it!  I'm not sure how much I plan on posting about our travel on this blog but I do have a private FB page that I plan on updating a little more.  So if you would like to follow our adventure to picking up our sweet son please send me a note!  Otherwise, I will post here once back! 
This journey has been HARD!  Emotionally draining.  I don't do so good with not having control and in adoption you have NO CONTROL over 90% of the process.  So its funny because I have this misperception that things are going to get back to normal once J is home.  Once he is home we can relax, the stress of the unknown is behind us.   My kids can have their Mommy's attention back, my husband can get his wife back.  Ill be back to cooking and cleaning regularly.  Ill start working out regularly like I did before we started this adoption.   Maybe I can even ditch my "happy pills!"  We will all finally be together and everything will be peachy.....right?  I can hope???  Ha Ha!  I have been warned many times that the first year is a very difficult year but I guess we will soon find out! 
No matter what lies ahead I am so excited to bring our son home.  To see him and give him a hug and kiss for the first time.  After all I have been staring at his sweet face since MARCH!  I cant wait to bring him home and introduce him to our three children waiting to greet their new brother.  Our youngest Cash is so excited!  He has been the one asking the most about when will we bring his brother home!  I cant wait for that moment when Cash finally gets to give his brother a high five!  I cant wait for J to meet the rest of our family, friends, and church.  To watch him enjoy and maybe not enjoy all of his "firsts!"  So much to look forward to, I just want to enjoy the thought of it all right now, even if it may not be quite what I expect.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

inching closer.....

We are coming little one, we promise....

I get asked all the time whats taking so long!  Ugh, I know, it's frustrating.  I wish adoption didn't take so long or cost so much, but the fact is it just does.  It's a long process with a big price tag.  Lots of court fees, lawyer fees, the agency you pay to work on your case, flights, medicals, child care.   The list goes on.   Now when we had our 3 children naturally the medical bill was enormous as well, but we were able to pay it off over time. Adoption does not give you that option.  I feel so so blessed to be financially able to adopt, I really do.  But it stinks that there are so many families who would be great families for these children but don't feel they are able to financially.  I want to encourage everyone to not let money stop you from doing something you feel called to do.  The money will come.  It will.  There are also many loans and grants out there for adoptive families.  And God just has a way of providing what you need!

Ok, I had no intention on talking about money in this post:)  I really just wanted to update everyone on where we are at.  So Last week we got our i600 approval which is a HUGE step in the final process.  So not only is he our son in Congo, the US recognizes him as our son now too.  Whew, cuz I really didn't want to have to live in    Congo(-:  Seriously one thing I have learned through this process is just when you celebrate finishing one huge step, there is another step waiting right around the corner.  Its one thing after another.  Lots and lots of ups and downs.  I am happy to say that in a process of about 50 steps though we are now down to the last 2.  Up next is our embassy date.  OH wait, I mean up next is waiting to hear "when" our embassy date will be.  then once we have that date, we can get the visas.  This could all happen in a matter of 2 weeks.  We could be on a plane in two weeks holding our sweet boy.  BUT.....EVERYTHING IS CLOSED!  Yeah, not too excited about that but what can we do.  It's looking like we are going to have to wait for our little man a little longer.  Once things open back up the first of the year we will be on our way to baby J!!  I cant wait to hold him in my arms.  What an amazing day that will be.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So close yet so far away.....

We are happy to say that the final paperwork has been filed and now we are just waiting for approval to go ahead and get visas!  It's a very important and exciting step filing the i600, and its a step we have been patiently waiting for.  Yet for some reason instead of being overjoyed I just feel so far from having him in our arms.  Somedays I feel like he is slipping away, like he's not even ours anymore.  I think I am feeling this way because we thougth for sure he would be here by now.  According to our agency we could have him anywhere from Sept -Nov.  Now its hard to admit but he may not even be home before Christmas.  This is hard as we have family who really wanted to meet him and will likely not be able to for a while now.  I know we are SOOOO close and I need to just trust God and his amazing timing.  If he is not home before Christmas we will most likely be traveling the first of the year.  thats not too far away:)  If you can pray specifically for our process pray that our i600 gets approved next week and can travel a few weeks after that. 

Another prayer request.....there is conflict going on in Congo that could start another war.  Its absolutely horrible what they are doing to the innocent people in this country.  Our son is in a safe place as of right now but with the risk of a war who knows how that will affect everything.  My heart hurts for these people and wish there was more we could do.  I will include an article below.

On another note the Gillette Summer of Hope program is in its beginning stages right now and if there is anyone who would like to know more about it please contact me!  We did a presentation at our church this weekend and had a good response to the program.  We will be having an informational meeting the on December 1st 2pm at High Plains Community Church.  Come and see what it is all about and how you can be involved.  Its an amazing ministry!

Ill keep ya posted on our travel time!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Introducing the newest member of our family!!!

Our mandatory 30 day wait is UP!  He is OURS!  Introducing Gray # 6!  Oh I love this little boy! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You grew in my heart - not in my belly....

The title of this post says it all!  Its amazing how much I already love this litttle boy I have yet to meet!  My heart aches for him, my mind is going crazy with worry, Im a bit more moody (look out:-), Ive put on a few extra pounds (no stretch marks yet), Ive gone through every cabinet, drawer, closet, and toy box, and anyone who enters my house leaves with an armload of "stuff" they probably never wanted in the first place!  Ive painted J's room, filled his closet  and dresser with tons of clothes, and find myself staring at his room in anticipation of seeing my son in his own room and with our family.  Anyone with children know what I am talking bout?  This whole nesting thing is just as present as it was with my three bio children!  It's different, yes, but it's 100% there.  No, I dont get the opportunity to hear his heart beet,  feel those sweet feet kicking my belly, or feel him hickup inside me (LOVE) but I do get to see pictures of his sweet face and see him smile (by the way I plan on sharing his photo next blog so stay tuned!)  I know that doesnt seem like alot but somehow it is enough to make me head over heels in love with him, just as I was so in love with my three children that grew in my belly.   He is growing more and more in my heart:-)

Alot of postive things have happened since we passed court.  J was transfered to a new "transition home" in a new city where we will be picking him up.  This is HUGE!  HUGE!  For one, the place he was in was in a very remote location where necessities were limited.  The region he was in was also very scary and unsafe.  While many adoptive parents get to see more photos and even hire people to visit their kiddos we could not as his region was too unsafe to enter:-(  BUT, now he is in a different home getting the care he should be, and this home is much safer and even has security guards.  So glad to know my litttle boy is SAFE!  We will be getting more frequent updates as well as communication is much better with this home.  There are families who are there picking up their own kiddos as well so we should be receiving information and photos from them too.  The best part of this move is that this is the END part in this whole process!  This is where the kids whos parents are very close to the finish line are at!  I CANT WAIT!!!!  Even though I am so happy for J to be in better care I am full of mixed emotion.  This poor little guy had been in one orphanage since birth.  Im sure leaving it was just as hard as taking a two year old away from his parents.  That is the only home he has ever known and the caregivers were "his Mommas".  And not to mention he most likely had NEVER driven in a car and definatly not in an airplane!  I wonder if he was scared while he was thousands of feet in the air?  I wonder if he cried?  I wonder who was with him?  Does he understand this is for the better? (doubt it) How confusing this must all be for this child. I cant even imagine what he must be going through. Did they let him say his goodbyes to his foster mommas?  How could we ever thank his foster moms enough for doing the best they could caring for my son for over two years?    We will never know who they are.  Sadly neither will J. 
Once again I ask for your prayers.  Please pray that J can understand to the best of his ability that this is all for the better.  Please pray that The Lord prepares his heart for us, and that the Lord prepares our own hearts and minds for the arrival of our son as we know it is not all going to be easy.  However, this is a challenge I CAN NOT WAIT TO TAKE ON!!!!
God Bless!  Haley